Have questions? We're here.
Talk with an expert
Build your ideal Patagonia trip. Call 1.406.541.2677
Start Planning My Trip

Kayaking with Humpbacks

Kayaking on silky Antarctica waters - nothing like it.
Kayaking on silky Antarctica waters - nothing like it. (Franny Friesz)

Now, I have travelers who opt out of kayaking all of the time because they are worried about it being too difficult. Having been through the kayaking program, I will be talking 85% of these people back into it. Kayaking in Antarctica was the best decision I made on this trip. I was really nervous about it being too difficult as well. They ask if you’ve ever sea kayaked or done a wet exit. I had done neither of those things. The most hard-core kayaking I’d ever done was white water kayaking once…years ago. That was 50% harder than this and kayaking in this destination was absolutely incredible. You are up close and personal with every aspect of Antarctica, the silky water, ice sculptures, porpoising penguins, playful fur seals, and curious whales.  If you’re on the fence and think you’d probably like kayaking, I know you will love it.  I took advantage of every opportunity we had to paddle.  My favorite day was our time in Paradise Harbor.  It was an overcast day so the landscape was especially contrasted. You could see the blues of the glaciers cascading into the see even more clearly. The dark, cold seawater was smooth as glass, only rippled by the many whales playing and feeding in the harbor.  The kayakers sat in awe of the whales surfacing only feet in front of us. We spotted a calf who was extra playful and would spin around in the water showing off its fluke. There was always a small fear of these massive creatures surfacing right underneath me, tossing me into the icy waters – basically dying. 

Fluke yeah - one of amazing experiences while kayaking in Antarctica.
Fluke yeah - one of amazing experiences while kayaking in Antarctica. (Franny Friesz)

But it only took a few times interacting with the humpback whales to know that they were intelligent, mindful animals.  I never got sick of seeing them, sitting in my kayak with baited breath waiting for another to surface. Each outing, I wanted to buzz over to where they were and just sit in awe, and in complete denial of where I was. One thing to note is that you do sacrifice time onshore or on the zodiacs when kayaking. Even though we had some intimate moments with the humpbacks, our fellow shipmates would manage to see many more than we did as they zipped back and forth to where they saw whales. Some days, they had a hike to a penguin colony, or a combination of a zodiac ride and time on the continent.  We had to make that choice to either paddle or the other options for the day.  Although, no matter which outing choose, you could be missing out on an experience. One zodiac witnessed a leopard seal hunting and killing a penguin! You just never know what you’re in for.  Ultimately, if you want my advice, keep that kayaking spot. You won’t regret it!
Antarctica, you wow me.
Antarctica, you wow me. (Franny Friesz)

Patagonia Travel Guide

Favorite Patagonia All Trips

Top Patagonia Travel Destinations

Patagonia Trips by Departure Date

Top Experiences in Patagonia

Patagonia Trips by Duration

Patagonia Trips by Activity

More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By